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  1. Default 24 day 3 leg trip

    Hi Folks,

    Ive used this site a good bit thanks for all the help!! Just to quickly set out my 3 leg journey and then to ask a few quick questions if thats ok?

    we're flying to chicago and then getting an overnight bus to memphis from there we are getting a bus to Nashville and in Nasville we are going to rent a car and drive the blueridge parkway and then onto dc

    leg 2:
    from dc we're flying vegas and doing a loop - that is zion national park, Bryce canyon, monument valley, grand canyon and then back to vegas

    leg 3:
    From vegas, we're flying to sanfran, where we are going to drive the pacific coast highway, via yosemite national park
    and then we're flying home from LA.

    I hope this trip is doable in the 24 days we have for it!! im leaving in 2 weeks and really want to organise my rental cars for each leg so I know the rough costs - can anyone suggest what rental company is the best?

    Also im not really to sue of where the best stops are on the blueridge parkway - I have 3 nights to do Asheville to Shanadoah National park where would be the best place to over night on the drive?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Leg One Why

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I can't for the life of me figure out why you are going to fly to Chicago, and then take 2 busses to get from there to Nashville, before renting a car.

    Why don't you just fly into Memphis or Nashville, or just Rent a car from Chicago? Or just fly to DC in the first place and do your trip as a loop from there? It seems like you are finding the most complicated way to make this happen.

    The same is kind of true for Las Vegas to SF. If you are going to go to Yosemite, you might be better off just driving there. By the time you include the flight, it might make more sense just to drive there from Vegas.

    Best advice for car rentals is to shop around. I've never found a huge difference between the companies, although some of the higher end places like Avis and Hertz will offer some extra amenities than the discount places like Budget and Enterprise. I just go with whatevers cheapest though, and that can change from place to place and even day to day.

  3. Default Car Rental

    If you're from Ireland, do check out car rental from travel agency in Ireland. Many of us in Germany found that it was cheaper for us to book our car rental from home.


  4. Default

    thanks suzi Ive looked into it a bit from here but Im not actually going with an agent im sorting it out myself

    In relation to not renting a car from chicago , just thought an over night bus would save a bit of time and money and picking up a car in nashville saves money, as does the loop at vegas rather than driving to yosemite

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Interesting trip


    I don't know that I've ever heard of anyone using busses quite the way you have planned, but there must be a good reason. I assume you plan to sleep on the bus to Memphis. From Memphis to Nashville is only 3+ hours of driving so you might consider getting your car in Memphis.

    From Nashville you must be planning to drive through Great Smokies National Park to Asheville. I'm afraid I don't know about accommodations in this area as we drive a motorhome and camp. We've only driven part of the Blue Ridge Parkway and found that even though it is beautiful, it is a long drive with lots of twists and turns...very tiring for the driver. Don't feel bad if you decide to get off for a while and take the Interstate for some more relaxed driving.

    There are several interesting attractions that you may not know about that are along that part of your trip:

    1. Oconoluftee Indian Village, in Cherokee, North Carolina, is an interesting chance to see Native American crafts demonstrated and hear about their unique culture and religious practices.

    2. Natural Bridge, Virginia is not only an amazing natural wonder, but there is also a very authentic reconstruction of a Monocan Indian village, which is very different from Oconoluftee. Well worth the stop. They also have a hotel, so it could serve as one of your overnights.

    3. Frontier Culture Museum, in Staunton, VA, offers a very interesting comparison between actual Irish, English, German and American homesteads (moved from their home countries) showing the European cultures and how they were blended in the early American lifestyles.

    4. Finally, you should visit an early American President's home. I suggest either Jefferson's Monticello near Charlottesville, Virginia or Washington's Mount Vernon south of Washington DC, or both. They are very different, reflecting the uniqueness of each of these pivotal figures.

    From Bryce Canyon, how do you plan to go to Monument Valley? You can back track and go south through Page, or you can go north through Capitol Reef National Park and Hanksville, which is only 30 miles further. The northern route would be my recommendation since it takes you through the Escalante National Park and Captiol Reef - both very dramatic landscapes!

    Now, about the flight from Las Vegas to San Francisco and your drive to LA. You'll notice on a map that Yosemite is on a line drawn roughly between Las Vegas and San Francisco. It is much more scenic to drive that route, visiting Yosemite on the way, and you get Death Valley and the eastern Sierra Mountains thrown in as a bonus! Then after visiting San Francisco you would drive the coast highway from San Francisco to LA uninterrupted.

    If you've already booked the flights, then I assume you'll drive from San Francisco to Yosemite, then back to the coast near Monterey. Not terrible.

    You may have heard me recommend Mission San Juan Bautista in San Juan Bautista and Purisima Mission near Lompoc as two excellent examples of the early California missions. There are several others along your way, and they are all interesting and have something to offer - these just happen to be two of our favorites.

    Without knowing how long you plan to spend in each primary destination it is hard to say if 24 days is adequate (you have a lot planned) but by disciplining yourself it should work. The tricky part will be lodging on your Las Vegas - Grand Canyon loop. There aren't a lot of places to stay, but at least you're going at a less busy time of year. Stay at the park lodges if you can, but you'll have to book them now.

    Don't forget to buy the America the Beautiful national parks pass at your first opportunity. The cost is $80 and it gets your entire group into all the national parks you'll be visiting.

    It sounds like a busy, busy trip, but lots of great stuff to see along the way. Have fun!

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default then why fly into chicago?

    Chicago seems like a very out of the way place to fly into. I can't imagine that flying there and then taking a bus to nashville would be cheaper than just flying to Nashville or Atlanta. Alternatively, flying into DC and then doing a round trip would most likely be even cheaper yet.

    I'm also curious how you are figuring that flying to SF will be cheaper than just renting one car for your entire Western trip, especially when you haven't nailed down a rental car company yet?

  7. Default thanks for the advice

    red coral thanks for all the detailed advice ya the intention is to sleep on the bus and then to get seeing memphis & grace land then maybe a couple of nights out in memphis too, the reason we are getting a bus to nashville is if we rent a car there and drop it in dc we seem to avoid large drop off charges and also ill have to get ready for the 2 day drive of the blueridge parkway and skyline drive dso im trying to limit the driving here, have decided that instead of heading to ashville we are going to head to gatlinburg or cheeroke to see that indian village and drive the whole parkway from there.
    the the whole of leg 1 is 10 nights

    the northern route that u reccommended for the bryce leg is prob the route
    we'll take depending on our time constraints

    ya we have flights booked so the plan is to drive from San Francisco to Yosemite, then back to the coast - i hope this is ok we can still cancel the flights and get credit for them , leg 2 is 6 nights

    I have a detailed book on the pacific coast highway so ill prob follow that for leg 3 which is 4 nights and a further 4 nights in la where i plan to kick back and relax on santa monica beach

    Midwest -thanks- in response to your post - chicago and memphis are 2 cities which are very famous in ireland and have great rep for things to do and nights out and stuff so im trying to include them, also the loop back to dc was considered but we felt it was just to long to fit everything into our 24 day trip. I think budget car rental appears to be the way to go for us from what i can see so far

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